The first six weeks of the NFL season are in the books, and on tap in Week 7 for the Seattle Seahawks is a matchup against the one-time division rival
San Diego Los Angeles Chargers. Both the Hawks and the Bolts come in with the same record as the leader of their respective division, but are technically not in first place by way of tiebreakers. That said, those division leaders, the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers, are facing off Sunday at Candlestick Park Levi’s Stadium, meaning the top of each division could see some shakeup in the battle for early playoff positioning in midseason.
Coming back to the game at hand this week, joining Field Gulls from Bolts from the Blue this week to preview the matchup is Michael Peterson, and so here are the answers to the five questions posed ahead of this game:
1. Is there something specific leading to the rash of injuries the Chargers have suffered this season? Is it as bad as it seems, or is it just the names we know who have gotten hurt?
There’s never been a rhyme or reason to the injuries. The strength staff has changed over from regime to regime but the hits just keep on coming. The unfortunate truth is that the Chargers have lost some star players on top of other impactful role players like tight end Donald Parham and wide receiver Jishua Palmer, both of whom sustained concussions against the Broncos. The injury report is as large as it’s ever been this season leading up to Sunday and that’s not a good sign for a team who has goals of making it to the bye at 5-2.
2. Uchenna Nwosu has been one of the best, if not the best, defensive player for the Hawks this season. What kept him from performing and producing during his time with the Chargers?
I think he performed well in his final year with the Chargers but it took him a bit to find his groove. He was a ‘tweener in Gus Bradley’s defense and Brandon Staley scheme utilized him the way he needed to be in 2021. It’s no surprise that he’s having a career year in a place that wanted him enough to sign him in free agency. Instead of being asked to set edges like a 4-3 defensive end at 245 pounds, teams finally realized he needs to be in a wide 9 technique so he can keep himself clean as much as possible when rushing the passer.
3. Brandon Staley came in with a lot of fanfare and the team didn’t shy away from investing in the defense in the offseason, so why are they currently 26th in the NFL in points allowed?
As crazy as it is, the main answer is J.C. Jackson. He’s allowed three touchdowns this year by himself through the air and has yet to pick off a pass in four games that he’s played in. The loss of Joey Bosa didn’t help and that happened to come against the Jaguars who took advantage of the demoralizing moment to throw up 38 points. So in hindsight, I don’t believe this defense is truly worthy of that ranking, but you’re not wrong for pointing out that they’ve underperformed so far this season.
As much as they DID add this offseason, they left the edge rusher group fairly shallow, along with the inside linebackers room. Drue Tranquill is having a great year and Kyle Van Noy has been solid, but Kenneth Murray Jr. is still far from the player the team wanted him to be by year three.
4. This game is a matchup of the only two teams in the league that Russell Wilson has never defeated as an opposing starting quarterback. How honored are Chargers fans to be in such an elite group?
Extremely honored. Words can’t even describe the honor the Chargers fan base feels to be in such elite company. The best part is that, no matter what the outcome is this Sunday, both of these teams will still be in that distinguished group.
5. The Chargers are solid favorites for this game. What’s your prediction for the outcome? And will this be a high scoring affair meaning fans should bet the over? Or will it be a defensive struggle with final scores in the teens for both teams for a second straight week?
All the Chargers know are close games and I don’t think this will be any different. My final score prediction is 27-23 in favor of the Bolts. The offense will do enough to win but it’s been so bland as of late that defenses are starting to really figure their strategy out. With the over/under currently at 50.5, I’m taking the under.
This post is brought to you by DraftKings Sportsbook.